Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Felting Over Soap

When I first saw this craft, I thought that it would be a great thing for my then 4 year old daughter and I to do together. Plus we would have some fun gifts as a result. I’m talking about felted soap. It really is an easy thing to do with kids - and clean! First gather your supplies: soap, wool and water are all you really need. Probably a towel to catch the water. I also have this plastic felting mat which has ridges on it to aid in the felting process – not necessary, but fun.

I bought a bunch of handmade soap when I was at Cummington last year – some from Bay Colony Farms. I usually cut the bars in half because I like to have a nice little bowl full of pretty soaps next to my sink and the small sizes are more convenient. I also purchased a bag of felter’s candy from Mielkes Farm when I was at Rhinebeck 2 years ago. I have made a bunch of soap, but this bag never seems to get any smaller. By the way, if you don’t have any “handmade soap”, the first time I tried this, I grabbed a bar of Dove soap. So, choose a color of your wool, rip off a piece, spread it out a bit and wrap it around your bar of soap.

Get your wool colored soap wet and slowly begin to rub the fibers with your hands. Go slowly at first, forming the wool around the soap. You can even add other colors – here are some appropriate April colors for Project Spectrum.

It really wants to move around a lot. I do this over the sink, using the water from the faucet, but when my daughter is doing this, I have her stand over the mat, with a bowl of water nearby. Start off with hot water – be careful with the temperature of the kids water. My daughter seems to be a lot more sensitive to temperatures. What I think is warm, she thinks is burning hot..

As the wool becomes formed to the soap, you can rub a little harder – really getting those suds going – felting the wool around that bar of soap. And don’t forget the water. I run the water over the soap periodically – washing away the suds. I also alternate between hot and cold water, thinking that this may help the felting process along. This is where you can use the mat if you have one – rubbing the soap/wool over those ridges. Remember to work the edges and corners also. This whole process will be very sudsy.

When the wool is nicely formed around the soap, you can rinse the bar again, getting rid of some of those suds and let it dry on the towel.

Then place a few bars in a bowl and admire your work.

These make great gifts for the kids to give their teachers. Or for that hard to buy for friend - make some soap to match the colors of her bathroom.

Have fun!


Liz said...

Hi Lisa, Gosh! I just subsrcibed to your blog as I am a new reader and I'm so glad I did. This looks like such a fun, unique craft. I have a six year old son and I think he'd really get a kick out of doing this as well. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

This is my last anonymous posting -Your reveal pkg is on it's way to you. I hope you enjoy your goodies - I had fun being your SP. I am sorry I flaked on you in March - it was not a good month for me. Take care,

Your SP7

mamacate said...

What a great tutorial--thanks! I've got to try that with H&E. Anything that involves water makes Henry happy.

I have been trying to find your email address--since I'm without my primary laptop, I can't seem to find it, and for some reason, it's not there in the past comments on typepad. ANYWAY, I wanted to write to say a great big THANK YOU for the sweet, wonderful, adorable, and charming (and wonderfully kid- and mom-friendly) gifts you and DD sent! The kids can't wait for their next bath to see those animals take shape, and the modeling clay is going to be great. They were also absolutely tickled to get presents! In the mail! Wow!

So thanks to both of you for your thoughtfulness. I have only two things to ask of you. 1. Tell me YOUR birthday and 2. send me an email! I'd like to send an e-card to DD to thank her specifcially.

Helen said...

The felted soaps you made look great! I'll have to try that with my boys; they will love getting messy in the process. :)

robin said...

Hey Lisa - hope things are great up there. I love the felted soap - I'll have to do that with my grandson -just need to find a source for the roving. I somehow ended up without a postcard bud for March but I'm looking forward to April!
Oh - and Lucy's doing fine. She's kinda latched on to Sadie more than Molly which I expected 'cause Sadie's had puppies before. I should have more pictures up at the blog soon.

marie in florida said...

those soaps are so interesting. what happens to the felted roving then after the soaps are used up? now i'm wondering if i could make a little soap sock out of wool from the second hand store, you know old ends of tapestry wool and such and felt them down over a soap to play.
got here through Margene by the way